What does/do her parents do?



  • What does her parents do?
  • What do her parents do?

Which one is correct? Can you have does and do in the same sentence like the first one? Would it be incorrect because parents is plural so do must be used throughout?


Posted 2014-12-10T11:10:17.997




What do her parents do?

Here the subject of the sentence is her parents. Because her parents is plural the auxiliary verb DO must agree with the plural noun phrase, so we need do and not does. The auxiliary verb DO is the first verb in the sentence. This is the verb that moves in front of the subject. It has no meaning, it just helps to make the sentence a question.

The verb after auxiliary Do is ALWAYS an infinitive. It can never be "Xing", "Xs", "Xed" or "to X".:

  • Does he eats?
  • Did they went?
  • We don't liking...
  • They didn't to come.

It should be:

  • Does he eat?
  • Did they go?
  • We don't like ...
  • They didn't come.

We can only have one auxiliary verb DO in a sentence.

However, the second DO in the Original Poster's example is the main verb. It's the lexical verb DO. It isn't an auxiliary. Because it comes after the auxiliary DO, it must be in the infinitive. The verb after auxiliary DO is ALWAYS an infinitive. Therefore the sentence must be like this:

  • What do her parents do?

Hope this is helpful!

Araucaria - Not here any more.

Posted 2014-12-10T11:10:17.997

Reputation: 25 536


It's "do".

Think about the answer to the questions. "Her parents does" is incorrect, whereas

Her parents do a mean chicken casserole.

Is natural sounding and correct.


Posted 2014-12-10T11:10:17.997

Reputation: 367

2If this reasoning was correct, then "What does her parent does?" would be correct, because the answer would be "Her parent does a mean chicken casserole". "Her parent do ..." is incorrect, but "What does her parent do?" is fine. – David Schwartz – 2014-12-10T11:51:58.737

Good point. I wrote in haste. Feel free to edit until I get a chance. – Ste – 2014-12-10T12:56:20.563


To answer your specific question, Can you have does and do in the same sentence like the first one?, Yes, you can. You can have do twice, but not does twice. This is not a very helpful rule, however. The role that each word plays is very different in each case.

The first use of do/does is just a way to construct a question in English. It has nothing to do with the second use, which is what the question is really about. Try with a different verb in the question:

What do/does her parents cook?

Clearly, the word cook is irrelevant to whether we should use do or does. In reply to your hypothetical question, you could preserve the do to give a more assertive tone.

Her parents do cook.

Her parents do do.

Or in singular form:

Her father does cook.

Her father does do.

So there's nothing wrong with a sentence with multiple uses of do.


Posted 2014-12-10T11:10:17.997

Reputation: 131

"Does he do it like she does it?" is a sentence that uses "does" twice. – Ernest Friedman-Hill – 2014-12-10T19:45:13.597


Araucaria answered the part about which is correct. Yes, it's "do", because the subject is "her parents", which is plural, and so requires a plural verb.

As to whether you can use the word "do" twice in a sentence: Sure you can. Maybe you're thinking of the common advice to avoid using the same word twice in a sentence, but this is a matter of style and not an absolute rule. I wouldn't write, "I bought a car from the car salesman at Friendly Car Lot" because the repeated use of the word "car" sounds awkward. But short, common words like "the" and "do" are used repeatedly all the time and no one really notices.

Note the two "do"s are serving different functions in the sentence. The first is part of the conventional way of phrasing a question about an action: "What do ..." The second is the specific action being asked about. Many other verbs would fit in its place. "What do her parents read?" "What do her parents eat?" etc.


Posted 2014-12-10T11:10:17.997

Reputation: 51 729


I saw you're struggling between "parent" and parents.

Let's start from your question. First, we need to see the subject here which is "parents", mean both of our mother and father, which means that this is a plural subject. For plural subject, you must use the root word. So,....

What does her parents do? (Wrong)

What do her parents do? (Right)

I saw that you ask Ste about the word "parent". The word "parent" here means one of the parent(father or mother), which is a singular subject. For singular subject, we must add -s, -es, -ies and more. So,.....

What do her parent do? (Wrong)

What does her parent do? (Right)

In conclusion, we must pay attention on the subject to see which is suitable for the sentence.


Posted 2014-12-10T11:10:17.997

Reputation: 123


The correct question is, "What do her parents do?" Since the word 'parents' is plural you would use 'do.' Of course if you had the word 'parent' instead of 'parents'you would use does. "What do her parents do?" "What does her parent do?"


Posted 2014-12-10T11:10:17.997

Reputation: 61